400 back petition against Falkland booze ban

FALKLAND;'Bob Beveridge handing over petition to Councillor David McDiarmid. 'photo; WALTER NEILSON
FALKLAND;'Bob Beveridge handing over petition to Councillor David McDiarmid. 'photo; WALTER NEILSON

A HOWE of Fife councillor says plans to ban public drinking in Falkland are like ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’.

The campaign against the proposal took a step forward when Councillor David MacDiarmid presented Fife Council with a 400-signature petition opposing the move.

A bylaw banning the public consumption of alcohol in the former royal burgh has been requested by the community council amid concerns about anti-social behaviour.

If rubber stamped by the council and the Scottish Government, it could come into force next year.

But Councillor MacDiarmid expressed his support for the movement against the plans and said the “silent majority” in Falkland had “found their voice”.

He told the Fife Herald: “I am glad the community has taken this stance, and like them I agree this alcohol free zone needs looked at again.

“Sleep walking into something that may be regretted at a later stage is not an option.”

Around 30 people turned out at a community council meeting in November to call for a public drinking ban following complaints of disturbances in Falkland.

Since then it has been suggested an alcohol free zone should be linked to the village envelope, extended west to include the school playing field but not the cricket ground.

But opponents of the ban say late-night noise has nothing to do with, for example, the outdoor consumption of alcohol on summer afternoons.

Councillor MacDiarmid added: “I have been consistent with my views to all the community councils in my ward — that this is a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

“The police already have the powers to deal with the ‘buckie, voddy and blootered brigade’ that is a scourge to our societies.”

He went on: “Nobody has to tell me that alcohol consumption is a serious issue in our communities, and I agree that some towns and villages benefit from the alcohol free zones by law.

“But my argument is we invite thousands of tourists into our beautiful villages annually from as far away as Texas, Tokyo and Timbuktu.

“Falkland should be able to feed and water the tourists and locals alike — can you imagine not being allowed to consume alcohol outside in France or Germany? Non, nein.

“Scotland is a European country and should be allowed to act as such.”

Linda Bissett, Fife Council’s senior manager of democratic services, explained that the petition would be passed on to the council’s policy, finance and asset management committee, which will decide whether to send the bylaw to the Scottish Government for approval.

However, the plans are not expected to reach committee until at least November.